I’ve been getting it wrong. In way.

For the past few years I have been espousing an approach to living that is focused on making three promises or commitments to act in a certain way, a way that is disciplined, competent, noble, service-orientated and which requires good character.

That is not the wrong bit.

Anyone who has seen my website before now would have seen that I quoted Stephen Covey’s Three Resolutions, those outlined and explained in his book ‘Principle-Centred Leadership’, and which were themselves updated from earlier works. I wrote a book about them, their history, development and application, and I suggested that living in accordance with Stephen’s advice was the way forward to a greater, more impactful and settled existence. And that, in a sense is where I went wrong.

I used the word The. As in, ‘this is the way, the only way, and there is no other way’.

As in “These are THE Resolutions, and THESE are the words you must abide by.” Or by which you must abide, for the Grammar Nazis with whom I align myself.


By blindly adopting Stephen Covey’s words and suggesting my readers do the same I made a mistake, and in essence that mistake was to assume that the problems which gave rise to a need for the advice contained within that philosophy, were the same for everybody. They are the same for many, but they are not necessarily the same for all.

That said, and this is where readers need to have read Covey’s chapter in PCL or to have read my books and articles, the Restraining Forces at which ‘the’ Resolutions are aimed do pretty much fall into the six headings he provided – self-discipline and self-denial, lack of character/integrity, incompetence, lack of purpose and selfishness of focus. These faults are the generic ‘headings’ for where specific individual faults, the faults we see in ourselves, actually lie.

In a sense, Stephen Covey made a similar error, in that under the heading of ‘indiscipline’ he restricted his Restraining Forces of appetites and passions in the more physical sense – sex, drugs, food, or what he termed intemperance. There are other examples of indiscipline, and while some were perhaps included under the Restraining Forces’ ‘headings’ of Pride and Pretension it meant that ‘the’ Three Resolutions were, perhaps, too focused.

To cut a potentially long story short – long explanations are for another edition of the book – this means that I have to change from thinking about things less as ‘The’ Three Resolutions and more as ‘just’ Three Resolutions.

Or to put it another and much better way, I have to change the focus away from the concept and philosophy being  ‘Covey’s Three Resolutions’, to counselling and coaching that you discover ‘YOUR Three Resolutions’.

Not Covey’s. Not mine.


So I am looking at things with a new perspective, rewriting the book and hopefully making some new discoveries along the way.

And to start with I looked at how I could adapt Stephen Covey’s advice to my own situation, and in doing so I elected to review and therefore rephrase ‘my’ Three Resolutions to those you can now see if you visit my website https://threeresolutionsguy.com . The new version takes into account MY Restraining Forces and provides for MY Three Resolutions, those personal commitments that will address my individual challenges.

When the rewrite is done, I shall let you know. I still think that The Three Resolutions was one of the most impactful chapters Stephen Covey ever wrote (after the Seven Habits, let’s not get carried away).

But the time has come for it to be delved into and made common knowledge – and common practice.

Leave it to me!